And one year later, Hermione lay in the garden, by the hydrangeas, reading her book. White roses bloomed over the trellises nearby; Ron was lazily cleaning the barbecue, in preparation for the annual Live Like A Muggle Day celebrations. Harry was out of the house, out of the garden. Originally sent on an errand to pick up some milk from the corner shop, he now wandered to the playground by himself. He spun himself round in the whirligig, he sat on the swings and remembered racing Ginny to the heavens, shouting across to each other, words spilling from their lips like stars.


"You can go higher than that!"

"Yeah, on a broom!"

"Did you hear about Blaise? He's bought a ticket to Australia!"

Ginny had laughed, loud and bursting with astounded happiness. "Australia!"

"Yes, he passed his brick test!" Harry had shouted across, grinning. They eventually slowed, lulling to an almost-stop, the swings rocking ever so slightly. Ginny had looked across at him, her eyes bright and clear.

"I think I've passed mine, too," she said, but before he could ask what she meant, she had leapt away and taken off around the cricket pitch, laughing, and he had forgotten.

He knew now. She didn't want to be anybody's burden, she did not want to drown them with her, drag them into darkness.

He lifted his face to the sky and kicked back, letting himself fly into the air, the chains on the swing creaking up a chorus. The sky was glorious, a wonderful, beautiful blue, the shade that he thought eternity would look like, if eternity could be a colour. Harry imagined that's where Ginny was, where she could have her everlasting summer, smiling as everything faded, drifting into the golden blue she was forever chasing.

And with her, the curse had stopped. She had broken it on her body, falling away from the darkness, letting the shadows take her where they would.

He flew towards the cloudless blue, overcome not with sadness but with love.